Why Structure is Important to The Family Dog

Vulcan Mind Mind, Star Trek, Dogs, purebred Dogs, structure, angulation

The Vulcan Mind Meld. What we wouldn’t give to be able to do it.

Short of a “Vulcan Mind Meld,” there’s simply no way to impart how to assess sound angulation in a dog using a Facebook post. We try to break it down into snippets here and there, but by and large, it takes time, it takes looking at a lot of different dogs, and it takes the desire to learn more. What we can do is to share why dog structure is important to a family dog who will never get near a dog show ring.

In a working breed, well built dogs can work long days without tiring. Good proportions lend suppleness to the back, strong hindquarters provide strength for bursts of speed, thrust for jumping, stamina for trailing, while strong pasterns (wrists) reduce the shock of landing. Balance provides smooth, effortless gait not unlike the humming along of tuned-up vehicle.

What does any of that matter if your dog doesn’t work on a farm or attend a dog show?

Does your dog like to play fetch? Does she enjoy long walks? How about jogging with you in the morning? Do your dogs love doing “zoomies” in the house? Does your dog jump on and off the couch?

Sound structure impacts all dogs, whatever their role in life. Angulation – the size. length and angles of the bones in your dog’s hips and shoulders, govern how effortlessly your dog moves. Soundness means your dog can take those jogs or long walks with you free of discomfort. It means she can jump on the couch to snuggle with you, and jump off again to follow you into the kitchen without pain. They can play with you longer, climb over boulders and tree stumps with ease, and not have to ignore their own pain to do the things you want to do with them. Soundness matters.

While we applaud the good people who work with shelter and rescue dogs, we’d love to dry up the sources of those unfortunate souls by making education about soundness go viral. Imagine the substandard breeder who can’t sell their puppies because their customers have gotten savvy about what to ask, and what to look for in a puppy. How long do you think those breeders would last?

Many of us have taken a lot of heat for supporting ethical breeders invested in their respective breeds. Heck, many of us are those breeders, but without heritage breeders, our breeds would deteriorate in quality, if not disappear altogether.

“Fred the Kelpie – Driving the Flock” by Pieter Zaadstra
www.zaadstra.com.au
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18 thoughts on “Why Structure is Important to The Family Dog”

  1. I am always saddened when a breeder dismisses the virtue of good structure and movement by saying “You can go to the pound and get a dog that can move, but it doesn’t make them a good or proper (fill in your breed of choice)”. Proper structure and good body condition will give any living thing a better, more pain free life.
    This article nails the importance of a well put together animal. Thanks!!

    • Thank YOU, Jo-anne, for endorsing our point of view on the importance of soundness!

    • Thanks, Naomi, thank you so much for taking the time to write us and let us know you agree!

  2. Having spent $thousands on pain meds, underwater treadmills, and physical therapy on dogs who were intended to be “just pets” from a backyard breeder before I knew better, I can tell you the slight increase upfront for health tested, well-built dogs with sound temperament is well worth it!

    • The voice of experience. Thank you, May, for sharing your thoughts on the subject, we hope other readers pay heed!

      • John, we’re SO glad you wrote! Every so often, our readers need to be reminded that there are folks like you who put the blame of shelter dogs at the feet of heritage breeders instead of where it really belongs: the irresponsible owners who put them there. While we’re at it, there’s also the baffling question of why, if there really is an “overpopulation problem,” this country continues to import a million dogs each year (source:Center for Disease Control), many coming with fraudulent vaccination records and introducing diseases and parasites to this country and the dogs who were actually born here. Let’s not forget the fortune being made by Retail Rescue which shamelessly capitalizes on the emotions of people to make impulse “feel good” purchases without being properly vetted resulting in – wait for it – the dog being dumped at the shelter, and here we come full circle. So thank you, John, for writing and allowing us for this important reminder. You rock.

  3. This is my favourite post so far ! We hope we all love our pets and persuading folks that soundness is important because it allows our dogs to enjoy life and do things with their people not because they are loyal but because they are enjoying life. I hope this post resonates for others like it has for me.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Carolyn, and we hope the post WILL reach the eyes of pet owners everywhere!

  4. A good read. I battle with frustration when owners and even breeders think conformation only applies to “show dogs”. One may not be breeding with the show ring in sight but knowing your breed standard and the importance of it matters! Thank you.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Ann. It’s a battle to educate people not in the fancy about the importance of soundness, but one person at a time, right?

      • John, we’re SO glad you wrote! Every so often, our readers need to be reminded that there are folks like you who put the blame of shelter dogs at the feet of heritage breeders instead of where it really belongs: the irresponsible owners who put them there. While we’re at it, there’s also the baffling question of why, if there really is an “overpopulation problem,” this country continues to import a million dogs each year (source:Center for Disease Control), many coming with fraudulent vaccination records and introducing diseases and parasites to this country and the dogs who were actually born here. Let’s not forget the fortune being made by Retail Rescue which shamelessly capitalizes on the emotions of people to make impulse “feel good” purchases without being properly vetted resulting in – wait for it – the dog being dumped at the shelter, and here we come full circle. So thank you, John, for writing and allowing us for this important reminder. You rock.

  5. Nothing but pro breeder propaganda that justifies buying over adopting while millions off animals die in shelters because you people are morally and ethically void

    • John, we’re SO glad you wrote! Every so often, our readers need to be reminded that there are folks like you who put the blame of shelter dogs at the feet of heritage breeders instead of where it really belongs: the irresponsible owners who put them there. While we’re at it, there’s also the baffling question of why, if there really is an “overpopulation problem,” this country continues to import a million dogs each year (source:Center for Disease Control), many coming with fraudulent vaccination records and introducing diseases and parasites to this country and the dogs who were actually born here. Let’s not forget the fortune being made by Retail Rescue which shamelessly capitalizes on the emotions of people to make impulse “feel good” purchases without being properly vetted resulting in – wait for it – the dog being dumped at the shelter, and here we come full circle. So thank you, John, for writing and allowing us for this important reminder. You rock.

  6. Of course my comments won’t make the cut — Anyone who supports breeders is morally void go ahead and silence the truth like the morally and ethically void organization you run!

    • John, we’re SO glad you wrote! Every so often, our readers need to be reminded that there are folks like you who put the blame of shelter dogs at the feet of heritage breeders instead of where it really belongs: the irresponsible owners who put them there. While we’re at it, there’s also the baffling question of why, if there really is an “overpopulation problem,” this country continues to import a million dogs each year (source:Center for Disease Control), many coming with fraudulent vaccination records and introducing diseases and parasites to this country and the dogs who were actually born here. Let’s not forget the fortune being made by Retail Rescue which shamelessly capitalizes on the emotions of people to make impulse “feel good” purchases without being properly vetted resulting in – wait for it – the dog being dumped at the shelter, and here we come full circle. So thank you, John, for writing and allowing us for this important reminder. You rock.

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